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Dr. Francis "Jack" Putz, Dr. Jane Brockman to present lectures at CK Library

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Conservation biology, local ecology among topics in Thursday and Saturday talks

Dr. Francis "Jack" Putz is scheduled to speak Thursday at 5 p.m. The topic of his lecture "Coastal Ecosystem Change in Florida.”

Dr. Putz is a professor of conservation biology at the University of Florida. He was mentioned by environmental writer Heather Dewar in her talk in January. She talked about Dr. Putz's work near our coastline, specifically about the receding forests along the coastline near Yankeetown, as described in a short article available for reading at the library circulation desk.

Dr. Putz will explain how salt is the principal culprit in the die-off along the coast, including stress from sea level rise and disturbances from drought and storms. Adaptations to these conditions will become increasingly important as time goes on. Participants at Thursday's talk will have an opportunity to draw conceptual models, so they are encouraged to bring along some drawing utensils.

The program will be hosted by both Cedar Keys Audubon and the Friends of the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges.

Feb. 18, Brockman will discuss, "Horseshoe Crabs: Biology and Conservation of a Living Fossil" will take place at 10:30 a.m.

The American Horseshoe Crab is a species that has seen dinosaurs come and go, continents drift apart and sea levels rise and fall. Their blood is an important tool in biomedicine. Their eyes have provided scientists with fundamental insights into how visual cells work and their eggs are a critical food source for migrating shore birds.

Found along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and in the Gulf of Mexico, horseshoe crabs are under threat.

Brockmann and her colleagues have studied the life history and reproductive strategies of horseshoe crabs for over 25 years to help ensure their long-term survival. It is critical that we understand their life history and reproductive behavior and in her lecture she will discuss some of her recent findings that will help determine how best to manage horseshoe crab fisheries.

She will discuss why horseshoe crabs are so useful and controversial and the challenges these ancient and very unusual animals face in our modern world.